News releases

December 14, 2022

CUHK releases 2022 Hong Kong Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents

 
Hong Kong children perform worst in overall physical activity and obesity

Working in collaboration with the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance and with support from Sun Life Hong Kong, an interdisciplinary research team from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has released the “2022 Hong Kong Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents” (2022 Hong Kong Report Card), which is the third Hong Kong Report Card. The results show that Hong Kong performs the worst in “Overall Physical Activity” and “Obesity”; scoring relatively better grades in “Active Transportation”, “School” and “Community and Environment”

The 2022 Hong Kong Report Card assesses the current data on physical activity among children and adolescents. It provides a synthesis of the best available evidence across 12 indicators, namely “Overall Physical Activity”, “Organised Sport and Physical Activity”, “Active Play”, “Active Transportation”, “Sedentary Behaviour”, “Physical Fitness”, “Sleep”, “Family and Peers”, “School”, “Community and Environment”, “Government” and “Obesity”. The 2022 Hong Kong Report Card results were published together with those of 57 countries and regions with recommendations to increase physical activity among children and adolescents.

The results show that children and adolescents in Hong Kong perform the worst in “Overall Physical Activity” and “Obesity” with a grade of D-**(A “**” means it is based on device-measured data exclusively) and D- respectively. The D- grade of “Overall Physical Activity” corresponds to 25% of children and adolescents meeting the physical activity guidelines on average, which reflects an insufficient level. This grade declined compared with the 2018 Hong Kong Report Card (C-). While “Obesity” receives a D-, which is the same as the 2018 Hong Kong Report Card, indicating that being overweight or obese continues to be a serious problem in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong scores reasonably good grades in “Active Transportation”, “School” and “Community and Environment”. “Active Transportation” is graded B+, which is the best among the twelve indicators. Approximately 75% of children and adolescents used active transportation to get to and from places. “School” and “Community and Environment” both graded B, indicating that over half of schools offered physical activity opportunities, and over half of parents reported living in a safe neighborhood and having sports facilities respectively. When compared with the 2018 Hong Kong Report Card, the grade of “School” improves while “Active Transportation” and “Community and Environment” remain unchanged.

The grade of “Active Play”, “Sedentary Behaviour”, and “Physical Fitness” is still low. It indicates that active play is limited, recreational screen time is high, and physical fitness is poor among Hong Kong children and adolescents. Compared with the 2018 Hong Kong Report Card, the performance in “Sedentary Behaviour” worsened from C- to D, reflecting an increased use of screen-based devices for leisure purposes among Hong Kong children and adolescents in recent years. “Physical Fitness” remains unchanged, albeit with a low grade.

Based on the results of the 2022 Hong Kong Report Card, the following priorities are provided by the team to improve the report card grades:

1)         Enhance parental education, especially the importance of role modelling, for supporting their children to be physically active.

2)         Encourage children’s active play within a safe and aesthetic community environment.

3)         Invest to support sport participation and sport programmes inside and outside (extra-curriculum) schools aiming at increasing physical fitness.

4)         Increase the availability of sports facilities.

5)         Use social media campaign to promote healthy use of screen devices.

6)         Foster cross-sector cooperation between Government and non-government organisations to increase investment in physical activity promotion (for fun not for elite sport).

The 2022 Hong Kong Report Card is supported by Sun Life Hong Kong. The core members of the research team include Professor Stephen Wong Heung-sang, Professor, Department of Sports Science & Physical Education, CUHK, Dr Wendy Huang Ya-jun, Associate Professor, Department of Sport, Physical Education and Health, Hong Kong Baptist University, Professor Martin Wong Chi-sang, Professor, Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, CUHK, Professor Cindy Sit Hui-ping, Chairperson and Professor, Department of Sports Science & Physical Education, CUHK, and Dr Sam Wong Wing-sum, Executive Director, Physical Fitness Association of Hong Kong, China.

Media Enquiries:

Nancy Kuo, Communications and Public Relations Office, CUHK (Tel: 3943 8501)

Zhane Pang, Communications and Public Relations Office, CUHK (Tel: 3943 1719)

 

Appendix

Comparisons with other 56 Countries and Regions

Compared with other 56 Countries and Regions, Hong Kong performs better in “Organized Sport and Physical Activity” (B- vs global average of C-), “Active Transportation” (B+ vs global average of C-), “School” (B vs global average of C+), “Community and Environment” (B vs global average of C+), and “Government” (C+ vs global average of C); while lags behind in “Overall Physical Activity” (D-** vs global average of D), “Active Play” (D vs global average of C-), “Sedentary Behaviour” (D vs global average of D+), and “Physical Fitness” (D vs global average of C-). (Table 1)

Compared with 42 very high human development index (HDI) countries or regions (Table 2), the grades of “Organised Sport and Physical Activity” (B-), “Active Transportation” (B+) and “Community and Environment” (B) in Hong Kong Report Card are better, while the grades of “Overall Physical Activity” (D-**), “Active Play” (D), and “Physical Fitness” (D) are lower than most of the other countries and regions who provide a grade.

Hong Kong obtains an alarmingly low grade of “Overall Physical Activity” (D-**), which is worse than many other Asian countries and regions, e.g. Japan (B-), China (C), and Singapore (C-). It is worth noting that Hong Kong is the only Asian jurisdiction to use device-based measures exclusively in grading Overall Physical Activity. (Table 3)

The situation of high sedentary behaviour is a common problem in very high HDI counties as well as in Asia. Hong Kong obtains the same grade of (D) as South Korea and the United States, which is better than Australian (D-), France (D-), Canada (F), and Scotland (F). (Tables 2 and 3)

About the 2022 Hong Kong Report Card

The “Active Healthy Kids Hong Kong Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents” is part of a global effort to promote physical activity in children and adolescents by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance. The Report Card assigns letter grades to different indicators based on a synthesis and examination of the best available evidence against the pre-defined benchmarks. Together the indicators provide a robust and comprehensive assessment of physical activity for children and adolescents. For details, please visit: http://activehealthykidshongkong.com.hk/

Acknowledgement

The 2022 Hong Kong Report Card was produced in partnership with the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance and The Chinese University of Hong Kong with support from Sun Life Hong Kong as part of its purpose of helping people live healthier lives.